Zimbabwe is a country of entrepreneurs expressing their capitalist ambitions through vending and retailing. That’s just one way of highlighting the changes to the economy that have resulted in countless citizens turning to vending and small-scale retailing opportunities to earn an income.
In the midst of this macroeconomic structure, there are opportunities that can still be exploited by people willing to add value to these small scale entrepreneurs.
This is an application designed to provide small business owners with a solution to manage their businesses via mobile devices. Business owners can remotely keep track of core elements of their business through an Android app that handles stock control and cashflow analysis.
VasBox provides daily reports on important aspects of the small enterprise such as deliveries and sales while also producing daily, weekly and monthly profitability reports. The app also provides SMS alerts for sales targets achieved and exceeded.
Solving a problem for the small guys
According to Moyo, the development of VasBox was inspired by mushrooming small scale businesses that haven’t gone the extra mile to find software solutions that can help them with basic accounting and business monitoring.
A huge reason behind this apathy is the absence of solutions that can cater for micro enterprises with the right sort of prices and limited demands for accompanying hardware. Most Off The Shelf solutions for small to medium scale enterprises (SMEs) don’t always cater for the ambitious vendor or cross-border trader.
VasBox presents itself as a more accessible solution by virtue of it being an Android app can be accessed from the majority of mobile devices in Zimbabwe. It also has monthly premiums of $1, $3, $5 and $10 that cater for varying sizes of small businesses but are ultimately priced with small scale enterprises in mind.
Some of the aspects of VasBox have been developed through consultation with small scale enterprises who, according to Moyo, have been providing feedback that has powered the continued improvements being made on the app. Moyo says,
Initially, I had positioned it as just a stock-taking app, but on meeting first few micro entities, I realised most of them don’t have any sort of accounting system, so I introduced the QuickBooks dimension.
If you interview one or two flea market owners or such other small entities, or small bars, you will quickly realize that they are managing everything from their heads.
VasBox is still undergoing some improvements with a goal to make the system even simpler to use. To do this, there has been consultation with small businesses and these engagements have involved taking the business owners through the app, something that helps the developers learn how to tweak elements of VasBox to make it more intuitive while passing on knowledge on how the app itself works.
One huge improvement that is in the works is the integration of mobile money services to the accounting feature of VasBox, a change that should help assign a banking function to the app especially since mobile money has been identified as a leading contributor to the movement of funds in the informal sector and among micro-enterprises.
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